GMB confirms date North East Ambulance Service staff will walk out

Hundreds of North East Ambulance Service staff will walk out in a row over pay later this month.

The GMB, Unison and Unite are co-ordinating industrial action across England and Wales after accusing the Government of ignoring pleas for a decent wage rise and concerns over staffing.

Paramedics, emergency care assistants, call handlers and other staff will stage 24-hour strikes on December 21 and 28.

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In total, almost 750 ambulance workers will down tools across the region.

Workers across some ambulance services and NHS Trusts have voted to strike over the Government’s imposed 4 per cent pay award, which the unions say represetns a massive real terms pay cut.

Union representatives will now meet with service bosses to discuss requirements for ‘life and limb cover’ during strike action.

‘This is as much about unsafe staffing levels and patient safety as it is about pay’

GMB National Secretary Rachel Harrison said: “Ambulance workers – like other NHS workers – are on their knees.

North East Ambulance Service staff will strike later this month

“Demoralised and downtrodden, they’ve faced twelve years Conservative cuts to the service and their pay packets, fought on the frontline of a global pandemic and now face the worst cost of living crisis in a generation.

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“No one in the NHS takes strike action lightly – today shows just how desperate they are.

“This is as much about unsafe staffing levels and patient safety as it is about pay. A third of GMB ambulance workers think delays they’ve been involved with have led to the death of a patient.

“Something has to change or the service as we know it will collapse

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‘We value the contribution of all our colleagues’

The trust has vowed to keep essential services operating

Speaking when the strikes were announced in October, director of people and development Karen O’Brien emphasised pay was set nationally: “ who, regardless of where they work within our organisation, work incredibly hard every day to keep our patients safe,” she said.

"We understand their concerns around feeling overworked, and are confident that this feeling should start to ease following significant additional investment in our service, which is being spent on recruiting more people to join our teams.

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“If industrial action is taken, we will work together with our trade union colleagues to keep critical services running.”